Lu Xinjian, City DNA / Salford and Manchester, 2016 Image courtesy of the artist and Art Labor Gallery, Shanghai

Lu Xinjian, City DNA / Salford and Manchester

Year: 2015
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: Approximately 140 x 200cm
Brief biography: b. 1977, Jiangsu Province, China. Lives and works in Shanghai, China.


Part of the artist’s ongoing City DNA project, this painting responds to the geography and landscape of Greater Manchester, using google maps for reference. The area stretches from the University of Salford Campus to the city centre where the Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) is located.

City DNA / Salford and Manchester was a co-commission with the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art to celebrate both our partnership as well as the CFCCA’s 30th anniversary in 2016. A pink and blue ‘wallpaper’ pattern version was also produced for CFCCA to be installed in an area of their venue.

Xinjian’s art and design practice hovers between representation and abstraction, aiming to convey the historical evolution of cities and their structures. He has collaborated with Dr Dre beats headphones and Adidas.

City DNA / Salford and Manchester is his first piece combining two areas into one work of this famed series of works. Working from a photographic capture off of Google Earth, these paintings begin as hand drawn sketches on a printed aerial photograph.

This subsequent sketch is then scanned back into Adobe Illustrator, where lines are straightened, curves are rounded off, and colour balance is achieved so that one does outweigh the other. It is then taped off onto the canvas as a stencil and hand painted in acrylic, with the tape guide removed to leave Lu’s unique design, evoking the pop art of Haring and the linear structure and the usually few basic colours of de stijl. The painting is intended to evoke the essence of the street layout of a city, its density, form, and the “graphic moments” the artist can find in the layout of buildings and street plan. By viewing cities from above, and taking them down to their basic essence, each city somehow displays its “chromosomal signature”, perhaps its soul.’ Source: Art Labor Gallery, Shanghai.